Boa Constrictor Temperament | Are Boa Constrictors Friendly Pets? | Reptile School (2024)

Boa Constrictor Temperament | Are Boa Constrictors Friendly Pets? | Reptile School (1)

Boas can make great pets and are generally friendly snakes. But because of their size, people often worry about the temperament of boa constrictors and whether or not they are dangerous. So let’s talk about the temperament of boa constrictors and whether or not they make friendly pets.

Boa constrictors are typically mild-mannered with an even temperament when properly cared for and handled. My experience is that well-kept boa constrictors are friendly and make great pets.

However, as with most pets, if they feel threatened, this demeanor can quickly change. I have experienced aggressive defensive boas from owners who neglected their pet boas.

Some boas can grow up to 10 feet in length or longer. So I would not recommend just anyone going out to purchase a boa without knowing what they are getting into.

There are actually many types of boas that you can have as pets. So for the most part, this article will be focusing on the common boa or the Colombian red tailed boa. Read on to learn more about the temperament of boas, whether they are dangerous, and how to handle them correctly.

Boa Constrictor Temperament

Boas are a great choice for some people people. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell how a snake is feeling. And it is imperative to know if your snake is upset. There are a few signs you can look for to discern your boa’s temperament.

Some of the major emotions conveyed by a boa constrictor and the behaviors that are exhibited along with them are:

Pleasure, Friendliness, and Happiness

The following actions and behavior denote happy, positive feelings in your boa constrictor:

  • Calm
  • Slow tongue flicks
  • Not trying to escape
  • Not hissing
  • Some may enjoy being petted

Is Your Boa Showing Signs Of Fear

If your boa is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, they may be experiencing fear:

  • Hissing
  • Coiling
  • Moving away
  • Striking

To help alleviate your boa’s fear, you can:

  • Slowly handle them
  • Use multiple handling sessions to get the snake acclimated to you
  • Handle regularly from a young age

Is Your Boa Constrictor Showing Signs Of Aggression

When your boa is feeling aggressive, they will show the following behaviors:

  • Hissing
  • Fast tongue flicks
  • Body tension
  • Rapid breathing
  • Coiling
  • Striking
  • Constricting

You can help to lessen aggression in your boa by doing the following:

  • Avoid threatening behaviors toward the snake
  • Avoid pushing attention on your snake

Sudden Changes in Your Boa Constrictors Temperament

If your boa’s temperament changes from time to time, there is nothing to be concerned about. Even humans have days where they want to be left alone. A good example might be right before or while your boa is shedding its skin. At this time it is a good idea to avoid handling your snake.

However, if there is a more drastic change in your boa’s temperament, there may be cause for concern. You may want to find a veterinarian that specializes in reptiles to check your boa for possible health issues.

Are Boas Constrictors Friendly?

Overall, most boas are friendly docile creatures. All reptiles have distinct personalities, but most boas are usually friendly and calm. These boas are best known for their friendliness. Many times, red-tailed boas are used as attractions at fairs because of their calm demeanor and beautiful patterns.

If they feel threatened by you or others, they may resort to aggressive or fearful behaviors.

Are Boa Constrictors Dangerous?

Generally, most boas are not dangerous. Boa constrictors are not venomous, but they may try to strike if they feel threatened or unsafe.

Striking refers to when the boa lunges to bite you. If a boa constrictor does bite you, don’t panic or rip out the snake. This can injure the snake by tearing out its teeth. To dislodge the snake from your skin, pour some water on the boa’s snout.

Their bites will likely not be too serious of an injury but you should take it seriously. Make sure to disinfect and treat the area where they bit you.

The boa is a constrictor, so avoid letting the snake wrap itself around your neck. If the snake is startled while around your neck, it may start constricting, cutting off your airways and blood flow.

Most boas are not aggressive. However, they will display aggressive behaviors if their environment warrants it or something triggers them. It should also be noted that some types of boas can grow to more than 10 feet in length. Though they are not the largest of the snake species, they are certainly not the smallest.

You should still be careful when handling boas, especially around small children. It is typically a good idea to handle a large boa while more than one person is present. That said if you handle your boa regularly and have from a young age, it is unlikely that you will have an aggressive boa.

Handling Your Boa Constrictor

Getting your boa adjusted to its new environment and handler can take time. Knowing how to handle your boa with clear cues is vital to keeping the boa calm and friendly.

Here are the steps you should follow to handle your boa:

  1. Wash hands with soap and water. You may also want to use a hand sanitizer for an overly chemical smell, so the snake does not confuse you for food.
  2. Tap your boa on the head with your snake hook. This is a measure that distinguishes this as a handling moment and not a feeding moment.
  3. Only pick up your boa when they are calm. Look for slow tongue flicks.
  4. Hold your boa behind the head and use your other hand to support the body.
  5. Brace for some constricting as your boa uses its muscles to hold on to you.

Pro Tip: Never pick up a snake by its tail! This can badly injure your boa.

You want to handle your boa for at least 15 minutes a day to keep it adjusted to human interaction. However, there are some times you should avoid handling your boa, as it may display aggressive or fearful behaviors.

Here are some times to avoid handling your boa constrictor:

  • Right before and during shedding – They are sensitive to touch and may be more likely to strike.
  • While they are eating – You do not want your boa confusing you for food.
  • Within a day or two of eating – Again, your boa is still digesting their food, and handling them during this time may upset them.

Other Factors That Can Impact Boa Constrictor Temperament

Boa constrictors can become fearful or aggressive, even when they know their handler well. There are a few conditions that will make your boa happy and comfortable.

Other factors that can impact a boa constrictor temperament include:

  • Size
  • Age
  • Access to proper food
  • Comfortable living environment

A full-grown red-tailed boa can weigh 50 pounds or more. Red-tailed boas can also be over 10 feet long. This large size can be daunting for any handler and requires care and focus to make sure the snake is content while being handled.

A large boa constrictor can make handling very tricky. Improper handling can cause stress, which can lead to hissing, fleeing, or constricting.

As boas grow, they will shed their skin. During this time, avoid handling your boa as they are extra sensitive and more likely to become agitated or uncomfortable. Naturally, this affects the temperament of your boa constrictor and they are less likely to be as friendly at this time.

Of course, boas are are one of my favorite pet snakes, but they simply might be too large for some people. If you are worried about this I would suggest you check out my article: Best pythons and boa constrictors to have as pets!

How Does Age Impact Boa Constrictor Temperament?

A boa constrictor can live for as long as 30 years. So, caring for one is a major commitment! Additionally, a boa constrictor’s temperament can change over time. Therefore, you must be prepared to adapt to a growing boa and a changing temperament.

If you are not handling your boa regularly, it can become increasingly disinterested and upset during human interactions. How friendly a boa constrictor will become has a lot to do with regular handling.

How Habitat Can Affect Boa Constrictor Temperament

A comfortable living environment is important to keeping your boa constrictor happy and calm. The temperament of a boa can be impacted by its habitat.

Here are some tips for keeping a healthy habitat for a happy and friendly boa:

  1. A temperature gradient between 83°F and 72°F
  2. A heating pad or light
  3. A 3- to 6-foot aquarium enclosure with a locking top
  4. A hiding place
  5. A water source for drinking and bathing
  6. Humidity
  7. About 12 hours of light each day

Providing all of these in your boa constrictor habitat will keep your snake happy and healthy, and a happy and healthy snake is more likely to want to be handled!

So How Friendly Are Boa Constrictors?

As you can see there are many factors that can contribute to the temperament of a boa constrictor. Boas are often chosen as pets because of their friendly, relaxed demeanor. If you are looking to get a pet snake, a boa is a great species to choose if you are up for the commitment.

However, even though boas are mostly docile and friendly, sometimes they can get upset. Like any other pet, they need their space and time to acclimate to new people and new environments.

Boa Constrictor Temperament | Are Boa Constrictors Friendly Pets? | Reptile School (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated:

Views: 6433

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.